Extra virgin is the premium category of olive oil, but NSW government laboratory testing has found products made by Moro, Carbonell, Isabella, Bertolli and Paese Mio did not live up to the title. Testing by consumer group Choice found Italian brands Lupi, Bertolli, Bionature and Colavita as well as Spanish brands La Espanola, Always Fresh and Vetta had also incorrectly used the label. Coles discounted Moro, imported La Espanola and its Coles brand of extra virgin olive oil recently. Woolworths discounted Moro and Carbonell. The other brands continue to be sold in supermarkets except the Paese Mio, which Coles pulled following the NSW government laboratory findings.
As this blog has been explaining, the olive oil industry is rife with such fraud. It’s very difficult for non-Sicilian producers to compete with those of us who sell real extra-virgin olive oil. Simply put, our price points are lower because our costs are lower. We’ve been doing this since the dawn of civilization. In many places, consumers who are fed up with being sold bogus products and producers who are fed up with fraudulent labeling have been petitioning their governments to take action. California is one place where the legislature has responded:
The state Senate Health Committee took the first step in tightening standards for “extra virgin” olive oil by passing a bill from State Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis. The label extra virgin olive oil is widely misused by imported olive oils, recent studies show. According to a news release, Wolk’s Senate Bill 818 passed on a 9-0 bipartisan vote. “We can’t allow our state to be a dumping ground for bad imported oil sold to unsuspecting consumers at premium prices,” Wolk said in the release. “Standards are not only critical to farmers and producers who compete with foreign imports, but more importantly to consumers.”In fact, a 2010 report by UC Davis that analyzed olive oil sold at retail in three California regions found that 69 percent of the imported samples did not meet international and U.S. Department of Agriculture standards for “extra virgin” olive oil. “The study showed that the oils that failed were old, of poor quality, and/or adulterated with cheaper oils,” said Dan Flynn, executive director of the UCD Olive Center, who testified at the hearing.
Read that again: “69 percent of the imported samples did not meet international and U.S. Department of Agriculture standards for “extra virgin” olive oil.” If you want real extra-virgin olive oil, tell your grocer to import the high quality 100% Italian Mamamiafoods products. Why pay more for a phony product when you can pay less and get the real thing?